YouTube Shorts vs TikTok vs Instagram Reels: Who Offers Rapid Growth in 2024?


By Sabir Ahmed

Product, Marketing & Growth

Updated on Jun 11, 2024


In an era where short-form content has taken over the digital landscape, platforms like YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels have emerged as the dominant players.

With their unique features and massive user base, these platforms offer a goldmine of opportunities for content creators looking to achieve rapid growth.

In this article, we will delve into an insightful experiment that compares the growth potential of these platforms and uncover surprising results that shed light on the current state of short-form content creation.

A man analyzing YouTube channel analytics on a laptop

The Rise of Short-Form Content Platforms

The Birth of TikTok: From Musically to Global Sensation

In the not-so-distant past, 2017 marked the birth of a unique app named Musically. Little did anyone know, this humble beginning would soon evolve into the global sensation we now know as TikTok. 

With its infectious charm, TikTok danced its way into the hearts of young and vibrant audiences. It was like a digital wildfire spread across the internet, captivating the imagination of dance enthusiasts and, of course, inducing headaches for many parents. This app redefined how we consumed content, creating a playground for creativity, expression, and viral trends.

Monthly Active Users (as of 2023): 1 Billion

A person holding a smartphone with the TikTok app open

Instagram Reels: Enters the Arena

As TikTok gained momentum, it became clear that the digital content arena would be witnessing a significant showdown. Enter Instagram Reels, Instagram's response to the TikTok phenomenon. A spirited gladiator, Instagram Reels stepped into the digital coliseum, ready to engage in a fierce duel for supremacy. The message was clear: "TikTok, you may think you're the undisputed king of short-form video, but Instagram is here to give you a run for your digital crown!"

Monthly Active Users (as of 2023): 1 Billion

A person holding a smartphone with the Instagram app open

YouTube Shorts: Joining the Party, Fashionably Late

But the rivalry didn't stop there. YouTube, always one to make a stylish entrance, woke from its slumber and decided to join the party. With a fashionably late arrival, YouTube introduced its contender in the short-form content arena: YouTube Shorts. Aiming to grab a slice of the ever-popular short-form cake, YouTube entered the ring with determination, knowing it had some catching up. 

Now, picture this: three digital giants, each armed with unique features and a massive user base, battling it out for the ultimate prize—your attention. It's like a digital version of the Hunger Games, except instead of bows and arrows, they're armed with dancing, humor, and creativity. And amidst all the content chaos, a golden opportunity arises, especially for newcomers aiming to gain followers and recognition at an unprecedented pace. 

Monthly Active Users (as of 2023): 2 Billion

A person holding a smartphone displaying the YouTube Shorts app

The Golden Opportunity: New Creators Shine

This moment is the golden age for newcomers to the world of content creation. The algorithms on these platforms actively seek fresh and engaging content, providing new creators unprecedented opportunities to go viral and amass followers overnight. As the battle for user attention intensifies, platforms are incentivized to spotlight new creators, making it easier than ever to monetize online videos. With each platform vying for user attention, experienced and new content creators have an exceptional window of opportunity to shine in this digital arena.

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok vs. Instagram Reels: The Main Experiment

With a thirst for uncovering the dynamics of short-form content platforms, an emerging creator, AI-pocalypse, experimented: to discern which among YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels stands as the ultimate haven for rapid growth through short-form content. 

The experiment involved posting 20 videos across YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels over two weeks. The creator's videos spanned a range of topics, including informational pieces on World War II, motivational content reminiscent of Tony Robbins, and intriguing facts about animals.

The creator leveraged an AI tool called Fliki to simplify video creation. Fliki's "Idea to Video" feature generated scripts, selected stock footage, and added voiceovers, subtitles, and background music, resulting in engaging videos with minimal effort. Its creation process allowed for versatility, catering to different niches and audiences.

With content crafted, the journey commenced on July 4, 2023, and continued posting for the next two weeks. The creator posted the short format videos across all three platforms and meticulously tracked the outcome. The results were nothing short of astounding.

For a more immersive exploration of AI-pocalypse's experiment, including detailed insights and visual cues, head over to the creator's video: AI-pocalypse's Experiment Video.

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok vs. Instagram Reels: The Surprising Results

TikTok Results

The TikTok channel garnered 3,642 views across all 20 videos in two weeks. The videos received 139 likes and attracted five new followers. The views were consistently distributed, with most videos gaining between 100 to 400 views. Curious to know how many followers do you need to make money on tiktok?

YouTube Shorts Results

Contrasting the TikTok results, the YouTube Shorts channel experienced exponential growth. Within two weeks, the channel amassed nearly 17,000 views, gained 33 subscribers, and accumulated 500 likes. Videos on this platform displayed a broader range of views, from around 46 to over 2,600, indicating a diverse audience engagement. Please note that these results are not conclusive as there are some users who complain that their YouTube shorts are not getting views.

Instagram Reels Results

Interestingly, the results from Instagram Reels were unexpected. Out of all 20 videos posted, the collective view count was a mere one. Despite using hashtags and setting the profile to public, the videos failed to gain traction on this platform.

Conclusion: Seize the Opportunity

In this intense battle for supremacy, YouTube Shorts emerged as the winner for achieving rapid growth with short-form content. Its algorithm-driven push for new creators allowed for exponential visibility and engagement. TikTok, while still a strong contender, showcased consistent growth potential. On the other hand, Instagram Reels fell short in this experiment, raising questions about its current efficacy for content creators seeking swift expansion.

Aspiring creators have an unprecedented opportunity to seize the moment and capitalize on the platform's algorithms that promote new and engaging content. The ease of content creation with AI tools like Fliki further empowers creators to produce high-quality, exciting videos that stand out. With YouTube Shorts leading the pack, now is the time to embark on the journey of rapid growth through short-form content creation.

Disclaimer: The results presented in this experiment are based on the creator's experiences and may vary for different content niches and strategies.

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